Western Force v Cheetahs, Super 14, February 20
Force look to re-bound against Cheetahs
February 18, 2009
Western Force winger Scott Staniforth looks to pass, Western Force v Bulls, Super 14, Subiaco Oval, Perth, Australia., April 4, 2008
Western Force utility back Scott Staniforth is set for a return to Super Rugby after being named on the bench to face the Cheetahs © Getty Images
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Western Force coach John Mitchell has injected some fresh blood into his starting line-up as they look to bounce back to winning ways against the Cheetahs at the Subiaco Oval.

The Force were beaten by the Blues in their season opener last weekend and Mitchell has reacted by making five changes to his side. Recent signings Ben Castle and Josh Valentine will make their first Super 14 appearance for the WA side, with Castle having recovered from a neck injury and Valentine a minor hamstring strain.

Castle, a 42-cap Super Rugby veteran with the Chiefs and former Junior All Black prop, will be joined in the front row by Gareth Hardy, who returns to the line-up after missing out on selection for the match against the Blues last Friday. Mitchell has also re-shuffled his backline, calling 18-year-old James O'Connor into the starting XV at inside centre and Nick Cummins at right wing.

O'Connor comes into the midfield to partner Ryan Cross, who remains in doubt for the match with shoulder bruising despite being named in his customary No.13 jersey. Local front row product Kieran Longbottom joins the reserves bench looking to add to his 3 career caps, while the Friday night clash will also see the welcomed return of Scott Staniforth.

Staniforth has been named on the reserves bench after finally recovering from a knee injury which saw him miss the final four matches of the 2008 season. Following his last Super 14 match, against the Reds in Week 10 of last season, Staniforth underwent exploratory surgery on his left knee and missed the remainder of the season before returning for the WA side's development tour of England.

In just the first match on tour, against the Newcastle Falcons, the 12-Test veteran aggravated the injury again, forcing a second surgery and ultimately delaying the start to his 2009 Super 14 campaign. Mitchell said that his players were hurting after the opening week loss to the Blues and were determined to bounce back in front of their home fans.

"The boys were very disappointed in their performance last Friday and are very much looking forward to the opportunity to turn things around this weekend," said Mitchell. "There were some positives from the performance but we certainly need better finishing and needto maintain our physicality throughout the contest."

In the corresponding round last season, Matt Giteau kicked a match-winning penalty goal after the full-time siren had sounded to steal victory from the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. The final score on that occasion was 16-15 to the Western Force. The WA side has never lost a Super 14 match to the Cheetahs, winning all three encounters since both sides entered the competition in 2006.

Cheetahs winger Fabian Juries has been rewarded for an eye-catching cameo in his side's narrow defeat to the Lions last weekend with a place in the starting line-up in Perth at the expense of Bjorn Basson.

Corne Uys has been ruled out with an injury and is replaced by new-signing Piet van Zyl at outside centre. Winger Jongi Nokwe is also still sidelined with a hand injury and as a result South Africa 7s international Danwel Demas retains his place in the side.

Western Force: Cameron Shepherd, Nick Cummins, Ryan Cross, James O'Connor, Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau, Josh Valentine, Gareth Hardy, Tai McIsaac, Ben Castle, Pat O'Connor, Nathan Sharpe (captain), Tamaiti Horua, David Pocock, Richard Brown

Replacements: Luke Holmes, Kieran Longbottom, Tom Hockings, Matt Hodgson, Chris O'Young, Josh Tatupu, Scott Staniforth

Cheetahs: Hennie Daniller; Fabian Juries, Piet van Zyl, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Danwel Demas; Meyer Bosman, Tewis de Bruyn; Wian du Preez, Adriaan Strauss, Bees Roux, Nico Breedt, David de Villiers, Heinrich Brüssow, Juan Smith (captain), Frans Viljoen

Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Kobus Calldo, Wayne van Heerden, Hendro Scholtz, Sarel Pretorius, Bjorn Basson, Hanno Coetzee.

© Scrum.com

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